33. Q: What does it mean when a sutra discusses “the twenty-five elements of existence”?
A: This indicates the nature of undergoing future rebirth or incarnations within the six realms of impermanence. Because of a delusion-filled existence during their life-cycles sentient beings become heavily laden with all manner of karmic aftereffects, and thus experience future rebirths commensurate with these karmic ramifications—reincarnation. However, if in one’s present life-cycle one is determined to transcend these karmic states by embracing the way of the Unborn, then the severing of all past karmic associations becomes a real possibility. In this way one is forever linked with the Dharmakaya which is none other than the Buddha Body of the Absolute—Buddhakaya.
Q: So, then, what are the different qualities of these twenty-five elements?
A: Their essential nature is of one substance. Yet, when each of them are named given their various functions, they are said to be twenty-five. This all breaks down as the ten virtues, ten vices, and the five aggregates.
Q: What are these ten virtues and ten vices?
A: The ten vices are as follows: killing, stealing, recklessness, lying, an abhorrent tongue, decadence, defamation, greed, anger and deceitful views. The ten virtues are simply the absence of the ten vices.
34. Q: At one time you referred to the notion of “No-thought”; please further expound on this notion.
A: No-Thought means not fixating upon anything whatsoever—even to the extent of seeking something or not seeking anything. No-Thought means remaining uncommitted and motionless in the face of a myriad associations, whether material or mental. Abstaining from any such associations is referred to as remaining solely in the Unborn Mind. Keeping the thought-process in perpetual motion is alien to Right-View. How so? A sutra says, “Excessively engaging in the six meritorious thoughts is wrong thinking, while abandoning them is right thinking.” A sutra also says, “The Shining Ones always abide in the Dharma of No-Thought, thus becoming resplendent with the golden color and thirty-two marks of the Buddha. In so doing, they emit a marvelous radiant light that illuminates the whole cosmos. These merits thus gained are inconceivable and cannot be properly described, even by the Buddhas. Mind adepts who follow this Dharma of No-Thought, wherein the six organs of perception are no longer functional, are empowered to receive the Noble insights of the Tathagatas. When this realization is Self-realized, one is said to enter into the mind-treasury of all Buddhas, also known as the treasury of the Dharma, or sitting in the Dharma-chair of the Tathagatas. That same sutra states, “All Buddhas are thus Nobly Enlightened by this sutra.”
… Those who initiate spontaneous illumination transcend the three realms of existence (desire, form, formlessness) within this very life! The sutra also says, “Never try to extinguish the world; rather, transcend it. Do not wrestle with sensate defilements; rather, enter into Nirvana.” Thus, if one does not practice the Spontaneous Illumination method, he will be likened unto a wild fox that fancies itself to be a lion—this will never happen given a hundred thousand and endless kalpas of trying.
This whole notion and spiritual doctrine of “’No Thought” is succinctly described in a reflection from the Platform Sutra series:
“No-thought” in these passages is also rendered as “no-mind”, or Wu-hsin. This Principle is widely used by Hui-neng and essentially breaks-down as nothing calculated, but simply allowing Mind Itself to spontaneously meet, in non-formal fashion, what is required in a given moment. Hui-neng also includes, Non-form/ formlessness=Mind’s Essential Substance; It abides in no-thing as Its basis. Hui-neng drives home here the point that abiding in Mind-Only bests abiding in no-thing (sensate phenomena, including all thought-formulations) Hence, being un-fettered means to break the successive patterns of thought-obstructions by remaining “prior-to” them through spontaneous non-abiding via the principle of Wu-hsin that nullifies all impermanent phenomena through the exchange of the permanent Nirvanic-Element of Truth That is always ready to respond in appropriate and vivifying ways. Another way of looking at this is that one no longer has any relationship with the external, forever changing, environment; rather, one faithfully and spontaneously abides in the Nature of True Reality (Dharmadhatu), always prior-to and in union with the Pure Mind of Unborn Permanence. In Recollecting this Principle, says Hui-neng, whatever thought vexations appear will make no difference as you no longer abide in them (no-thing), but rather apperceive them through the Unifying-lens of the Nirvanic Mind.
35. Q: Is the nature of Absolute Reality really void? To say that it is not void is to imply in some sense that is has the nature of form; and yet, to say that it is void somehow implies extinction. In the latter sense, sentient beings would have nothing to depend upon to rise to liberation.
A: The nature of Absolute Reality is neither void nor non void. The marvelous substance of Absolute Reality is without form and cannot be perceived, so in that sense, it is void. Yet, since the formless void also contains a myriad functions as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, revealed in many diverse circumstances, it is also described as not being void. As a sutra states, “Understand this one point, and a thousand others will also become abundantly clear. Yet, misunderstanding this one point will open the door to the ten-thousand delusions. Those who hold-fast to that “one” will not find the need to ask further questions.” The sutra additionally says, “All forms of views bears the imprint of one Dharma.” How is this possible? All good meritorious effort depends upon Right Practice. If one fails to overcome the effects of the carnal mind and depends solely upon words to attain liberation, then one is wasting their efforts. One is merely being deceitful. Therefore, let one be perpetually vigilant, never grasping at phenomena and never allowing mind to just settle upon anything that comes under its purview. If one practices in this fashion, then one will soon be able to put-on the Nirvanic Mind and celebrate the Unborn. This is also known as walking through the Dharma-door of the Non-Dual, no longer carrying or entertaining divergent views, and focusing exclusively upon a singular perfected Gnosis THAT is absolutely clear; no longer strutting-about with an ego and skandhic-personality, or experiencing the vicissitudes of love and hate; devoid now of a false-self, such a resilient one knows the voidness of all duality. This is the period of Absolute Equanimity with no contention-filled fits whatsoever. Be mindful, though, this Doctrine should never be transmitted to those who are non-practitioners but exclusively entrusted to those who uphold the Way of the Unborn. Similarly, be most attuned to any adept who exhibits advanced-potential; make sure that they are totally devoted and will never regress before expounding this Doctrine. Also, be aware that in the coming generations there will be many of mixed-viewpoints. Share the Unborn Light with them, but never take-on their own karma-forming propensities.
First and foremost, I have not advanced these teachings for the sake of personal fame or profit, but only for those diligent ones who will practice them faithfully and unequivocally. In this way I follow the example of all Buddhas who have expounded countless expedient measures to deliver many from all varieties of mental confusion. Remember, in following this Absolute Mind Doctrine never form conceptual ideations, just allow Mind to dwell no-where in particular—motionless and still in the void. Likewise, none of you should seek personal fame and fortune, to do so will only incur stinging-karma and an endless array of needless suffering. Be careful. Remember that sentient beings must attend to liberating themselves and never relying upon Buddhas to do it for them; as a sutra says, “Those who seek the Buddhadharma will never find it by clinging to the Buddhas!”
I have chosen to conclude this series with these closing admonitions from Dazhu Huihai. It became evident throughout this series that Huihai’s own school was a most astute one. The nature of the exchange is highly evident of that. Some of his own Dharma-students were well versed in the sutras and quite proficient in advanced Buddhist Doctrine. The exchanges reinforced what was already well-researched, with the added benefit of his own unique grasp from the inner-workings of a mind that was propitiously fostered in the Absolute Mind and Spirit.